Creighton University head coach Greg McDermott hugs senior Josh Jones during a Dec. 9, 2012, NCAA college basketball game in Omaha.
Follow your dreams? Absolutely. Reach for the moon, and potentially land among the stars? Go for it. Posters, quotes and inspirational magnets are a constant reminder that as human beings, we have the potential to achieve anything we set our minds to. Our potential accomplishments are limited only by the goals we set for ourselves.
This is a beautiful theory, but the devil’s advocate sitting on your shoulder will be blatantly open about the fact that dreams and goals can change — and not always by your own impetus.
Nobody knows this better than Creighton University senior basketball star Josh Jones, forced to announce his retirement from the sport he loved in December. After undergoing a procedure to locate and rectify an atrial flutter in his heart that caused him to pass out before a game in Lincoln, Neb., doctors informed Jones that continuing to play basketball would become a matter of life and death. In the midst of the nationally ranked basketball team’s journey toward postseason play in March, this devastating news was evident on Jones’ face as he made the announcement with coach Greg McDermott at his side.
Luckily for Jones, he will still be able to graduate from Creighton in May with a degree in public relations. As he told Sports Illustrated in late December, “I’ve got aspirations to do other things. I’m going to try to put my degree to use. I was going to do all of these things regardless, whenever my athletic career was going to end. Now it’s time to start pursuing them early.”
For students, athletes and even established young professionals, this is an important reminder that what we believe our goals are can change in the blink of an eye — and the reaction to an unforeseen event is just as important as the event itself. Whether it’s not making the cut for a dream job or failing a graduate-school entrance exam, being prepared to accept adversity will help you bounce back from just about any hurdle that life puts before you. Taking the time to stay well-rounded and open to a variety of life paths is vital to your future happiness and success as a professional in any career. Creating new networks even when employed, investing time in hobbies and activities outside of work and being open to change and new opportunities will be invaluable skills today, tomorrow and farther down the road.
Senior Creighton guard Grant Gibbs described Josh to Sports Illustrated as “tremendous, bouncing back and looking forward to the next phase of his life. He’s one of those guys who can find good in anything. He’s going to find a way to get through it.” His versatility, flexibility and positive attitude make this journalist quite positive that Jones’s backup plans could weather just about any challenge life throws his way — and with a smile to boot.
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